It’s hard to find a single workout almost everyone in the fitness industry can agree on. But if there is any one thing, it’s that swimming is the best workout (or one of the very best). Few exercises out there can claim as many benefits as swimming can.
Other cardio exercises, such as running, biking, calisthenics, and hiking, are great for the body. They burn calories and fat and can build endurance. Still, swimming beats these activities for “best in show” every time. Swimming is great for any age or body type. It’s low cost, requires little time to see results, and is something many people love to do. A swim workout is also a great way to get a summer body.
Why We Think Swimming is the Best Workout
What makes swimming truly the best workout, and why are people everywhere flocking to gym pools to swim some laps every day? Here are five reasons swimming is the best workout and what fitness experts and swimmers everywhere have to say about it.
1. Swimming builds endurance and improves the lungs.
This is arguably the number one reason to add swimming to your workout routines every week. You build endurance in your lungs and muscles by swimming more often. In fact, you can use swimming as a way to increase your endurance for activities that require it, like marathons. Swimming helps you use oxygen more efficiently and effectively.
The other good news? When you get more of your breathing and use oxygen better, you are less tired, as oxygen is an important source of energy in the body. So, you could say that swimming gives you more energy and keeps you more alert. That is definitely something to shout about.
2. You get a workout without the sweat.
If you’re one of those people who wants the benefit of a workout without getting hot and sweaty, swimming is your best bet. For some people, this is a game changer. It’s really hard to find a better workout than swimming if you don’t like sweating. You get a full, total body workout that includes cardio and resistance training. You get to stay cool, in the pool, while still burning calories and making your trainer happy.
It’s okay if you are the kind of person that stays away from working out because you don’t like to sweat. You’re not alone by any means. The truth is that a lot of people are in the same boat: they’d rather not work out than sweat. It makes you smell and if you have to run to work after the gym, you might not have time to shower.
With swimming, you can get a great workout and not have to deal with the heat and sweat issues that come with any other cardio workout.
3. Swimming is another form of strength training.
Did you know that when you move through a swimming pool, your body is doing a bit of resistance training? That’s the same thing as weight lifting, in case you were wondering! Water is denser than air, and it takes more work to move through it. This is important, because while there are similarities in the benefits of running and hiking to swimming, you will experience much more resistance training with swimming than you would with those activities.
Here’s the thing: swimming is solid resistance training. Only a regular swimmer can tell you that two days after swimming several laps in a pool, you will absolutely feel like you do two days after leg day. The only other exercise that might give you more benefit in this way would be swimming through jello. Which would definitely be fun.
For those of you looking to get stronger without getting bulky, try swimming twice a week instead of the normal toning exercises you do with light weights. The benefit is that you won’t have to come up with several different exercises to tone your whole body. Instead, simply do a breaststroke up and down the length of the pool for thirty minutes (taking breaks as needed).
4. Swimming builds bone mass.
How’s your bone density these days? We all know that resistance training fights osteoporosis, among other benefits. Walking does the same thing. One hour of walking per day has been proven to actually reverse the signs of osteoporosis or bone loss.
Well, now bone mass support is being considered a benefit of swimming, too, according to this article. No, swimming doesn’t build up bone mass as well as running or walking, but it does improve it.
Bone loss leads to injury, osteoporosis, and difficulty walking or keeping yourself up. When you don’t exercise for long periods of time, you can lose bone mass and put yourself at risk. Swimming may help stop bone loss while helping you get back to an active lifestyle after an injury. Also, if you have arthritis, you can swim regularly to get some cardio in without causing injury to your joints.
5. Swimming burns tons of calories.
Usually when people hear that an exercise is “low impact,” they think it means the exercise isn’t as effective at burning calories or losing weight as others. That’s just not true. Yes, swimming is low impact and is easier on the joints than other exercises. Many people swim to get an aerobic activity without further irritating their arthritis, or to get a workout while healing from a leg injury. That doesn’t mean that swimming is easy, though, or that it’s not effective.
Swimming for an hour burns at least 500 calories and even more if your swim is intense. It’s an awesome choice if you do need something low impact for physical reasons. But it’s an equally awesome choice if you are mixing up your daily workouts and need something that burns many calories but gives your body a break.
Regardless of your reasons for choosing swimming, it’s a great choice for cardio. A good, long swim burns calories and fat, and is easier on the joints and muscles. You can probably last longer in the pool than you could pounding the pavement. Additionally, if you have a difficult time running, you can substitute swimming as a weight loss exercise.
“The water doesn’t know your age.” – Dara Torres (Olympic swimmer)
Clearly, swimming is one of the best workouts you can get. Swimming makes working out accessible for people who can’t or aren’t interested in running, biking, or other forms of cardio. To be clear, though, you will feel the burn. If you swim for exercise and not just fun, you’ll get your heart rate going and get the same benefits as cardio and resistance training. You just won’t get all sweaty while you’re doing it! And you’ll probably be able to swim for a longer period of time than you could run.
For a great body all year round, swim regularly. Find a gym with a pool so that you can incorporate swimming into your workout routines regularly.
Need a place to swim in New York City? We’ve got a gym for that.
CompleteBody in Manhattan’s 57th street location has an incredible pool with a sun deck and solarium roof (check it out on Facebook here). You’ll get an amazing workout while enjoying it, too, in a covered, rooftop pool.